Convicted

Convicted by Jan Burke Read Free Book Online

Book: Convicted by Jan Burke Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jan Burke
He’s a forensic anthropologist, but he’s also a search dog handler. He’s going to help us look for the boy. Ben, this is Mark Collier, one of our crime scene specialists.”
    Collier nodded. “Good to meet you. Look up on the ceiling and this nearest wall—judging from the spatter patterns, someone swung hard, connected, then stood over him here and made sure he was a goner. You should show him the boy’s room, Frank. Dr. Sheridan, if I can be of help, let me know.”
    â€œWho found the body?”
    â€œToller has a hunting buddy who came by for him about five this morning. Got a little worried when he saw the car here but didn’t get an answer, so he looked in the window and saw this.”
    Frank carefully led Ben down a hallway—both of them doing their best not to disturb another technician, who was trying to raise prints from the hall door. “Note that there are no visible bloodstains leading away from the body or on the hall carpet up to this point,” Frank said, as they reached a bedroom door. “So, my guess is the same as yours—Toller didn’t get up again after he received that blow. But what worries me is that there are some bloodstains in the boy’s bedroom, and some blood drops leading from here.”
    Ben saw crime lab markers near a few blood spots on the hall floor. He bent closer, and saw that they were slightly elongated, as if whoever was bleeding was moving. He looked toward the end of the hall, where sunlight came in through the barred window of a door. “That leads to the backyard?”
    â€œYes.”
    â€œWhy the bars? Is there some treasure in the kid’s room?”
    â€œFar from it. Take a look,” Frank said, gesturing to a doorway to the left. “At first glance, I wondered if this room was some sort of guest room. Didn’t seem lived in. Especially not by a boy. Toller had a gun collection in his own room. I suspect that’s what the bars were for.”
    When he looked in Lex’s room, Ben agreed—it didn’t look like a child’s room at all. No toys were visible, just a few school books, aligned with the corner of a small desk. No posters or pennants on the walls. No radio, no CD player. No computer or electronic games. Not so much as a teddy bear. Another crime lab worker was photographing the two exceptions to the orderliness—the shattered glass of a picture frame and bloodstains on the pillow of the otherwise neatly made twin bed. Some of the shards of glass from the frame were bloodstained, too. In the photo, a thin, dark-haired woman held Lex in an affectionate hug. “Is this the boy’s mother?” Ben asked.
    â€œI don’t think so. Neighbors say the mother was blonde, and died about four years ago. When I described the woman in the photo, they told me she’s probably his aunt—his mother’s sister. She was over here last night, and two of the neighbors heard loud arguing.”
    â€œYou’ve tried to reach her?”
    â€œPete just talked with her.”
    â€œSo does your partner think the boy could be with her?”
    â€œShe says no, but Pete’s still not sure about that. With the blood you see here—you can understand why I’d like to have Bingle and Bool go through the place.”
    â€œYes. I’ll start with Bool. Is there a laundry hamper here?”
    There were socks and underwear in the hamper, along with a pair of pajamas. “Anybody else touch these clothes today?”
    Frank asked Collier, who said, yes, there was a preliminary look through the hamper—the outfit the kid was last seen wearing was not with the other laundry, so they were assuming he was still in his jeans and T-shirt.
    â€œWhy don’t you pre-scent the dog with that bloody pillowcase?” Collier asked.
    â€œBecause I don’t know that the blood is the child’s.”
    â€œOh.”
    â€œMaybe the

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